PETA Takes On Pig Racing

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has been trying to stop a couple who bring the Robinson’s Racing Pigs and Paddling Porkers act to state and county fairs.

Mike and Kathy Warren are promoters for the act that features eight pigs who race on a miniature race track, and the pigs also race across a 24-foot long, 2-foot-deep swimming tank.

PETA objects to the pig racing maintaining that it is unnatural for pigs to swim and that the Warrens might be using cruel methods to train the pigs. But several news stories on the pig racing competition reported that local law enforcement officials in several states inspected the operation and found no evidence of animal cruelty.

Which, of course, to PETA is simply more proof that there must be some cruelty going on. As Amy Rhodes told the Boston Globe,

Oftentimes, these people use food deprivation or electric shock or beatings to train them. But we don’t get to see that, and law enforcement officials don’t get to see that.

Got that — animal law enforcement officers across the country regularly inspect these pigs and this operation and the fact that they don’t find evidence of any animal cruelty is simply a sign of just how insidious and deceitful this act must be!

For their part, the Warrens say they never use physical coercion to force the pigs to race. MIke Warren told the Boston Globe,

We had a pig last year who didn’t want to go into the water. She would just go to the edge of the tank and just look left and right. We called her Pokeyhontas. But the crowds seemed to love it. Because she wouldn’t swim, it was so funny.

Not that PETA’s complaints didn’t have any effect. Here’s how the Globe described the results of PETA’s complaints when the pig racing act appeared in Spencer, Mass., (emphasis added),

A law enforcement officer from the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reviewed the charge on Thursday, but after witnessing a mock race, inspecting the horse trailer the pigs were transported in, and interviewing the Warrens, Sergeant Peter Oberton found no cause to press charges.

Still, thanks to the PETA complaint and the ensuing media coverage, this year’s pig races have been a bigger draw than ever. At yesterday’s 2 p.m. race, about 125 fair-goers filled a section of bleachers and encircled the track.

. . .

“They end up complaining about it, and it increases my business,” said Mike Warren.


PETA protests pig races, but MSPCA finds no fault. Peter DeMarco, Boston Globe, August 31, 2003.

PEA protests pig swimming race. News 14 Carolina, September 7, 2003.

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